29 Rustic Outdoor Planter Ideas for a Unique Garden

Today’s post explores the best rustic outdoor planter ideas and offers tips on incorporating them into your garden.

Rustic outdoor planters, with their charm and timeless appeal, have a unique way of transforming garden spaces. By seamlessly blending with the natural surroundings, they elevate garden aesthetics, infusing spaces with warmth and character. This introduction to rustic outdoor planter’s ideas explores how they serve as vessels for our plants and as crucial elements in crafting visually captivating outdoor sanctuaries.

Selecting the perfect planters for your garden reflects your style and is key to creating a distinctive outdoor space. If you are fond of rustic, vintage elements in your garden, you’ll appreciate the ideas I’m excited to share with you today.

A wooden vintage wheelbarrow filled with terra cotta pots and springtime flowers.

On my blog WM Design House, I may sometimes use affiliate links, which means a small commission is earned if you purchase via the link. The price will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website using a non-affiliate link. Read my full disclosure policy here.

The Charm of Rustic Planters

There is something very charming about adding rusty planters to your garden.

A rusty claw bathtub filled with salvia and green plants sits on the pool's side.
WM Design House

I enjoy taking something old from the salvage yard and repurposing it into a useful container in my garden. It adds charm and a unique look to the garden and gives new life to an old piece that would otherwise end up in the landfill. 

You can come up with many creative ideas when using vintage treasures found at flea markets, yard sales, or an Estate sale that can be turned into rustic garden decor. 

The natural beauty of plants and rustic planters blend for a timeless look for any garden. 


29 Rustic Outdoor Planter Ideas

 1. Planter Box-Window Boxes

Don’t you love to see beautiful window boxes overflowing with flowers on the front of a house? They are stunning and add so much charm to a home. Typically, a window box sits just below the window and can be made of wood, PVC, or other material. I love this example of a window boxes that give a more rustic feel to a home. 

A rustic window box filled with flowers.
WM Design House

When selecting the right-sized window box for your home, consider these key points:

  1. Match the Window: Choose a window box that matches or is slightly wider (up to 25%) than your window for visual appeal.
  2. Depth and Height: Choose a minimum depth and width of 8 inches to ensure enough room for plant roots and soil moisture.
  3. Weight Capacity: Make sure the window box’s weight, once filled, can be safely supported by the brackets and wall.
  4. Material Choice: Choose old picket fence posts or galvanized boxes for your rustic planters.
  5. Style Fit: Ensure the window box style complements your home and doesn’t overwhelm the window’s proportions.
  6. Plant Growth: Consider the mature size of your plants to avoid overcrowding.

Concrete Planters

Using concrete planters is excellent because they will last forever. I have rescued many old sinks and pots in excellent condition from estate sales and turned them into beautiful containers for my garden. 

2.Concrete sinks

I use this sizeable concrete sink under a window in my shed, which also acts as a window box. 

3.Concrete pots

Other large concrete planters serve as an entrance to the cut flower garden in my front yard.

4.Concrete bird feeders

If you stumble upon an old bird feeder, grab it and transform it into a stunning display for succulents or flowers. I enjoy shopping at The Warped Table, where Julie and Stan offer a fantastic selection of unique items perfect for planting.

A sizeable rustic cement sink is filled with trailing pink and white plants.
WM Design House
A large cement pot is used as a rustic planter.
WM Design House
Rustic planted birdbath.
The Warped Table
Tip from wendy’s garden:

Shop estate sales and thrift stores for old garden pots, galvanized buckets, and other creative items you could plant in.

Galvanized Metal Tubs and Buckets

This is one of my favorites! I love anything made out of galvanized metal.

A galvanized item is a steel container coated with zinc which helps prevent rust. They are commonly used for gardening, cooling beverages, washing pets, and agricultural tasks. However, they can rust over time and make beautiful decor in the garden.

5. Galvanized wash tubs

Large galvanized wash tubs, historically used for laundry, now serve as excellent planters with a vintage flair.

6. Galvanized buckets

Calf and galvanized buckets, traditionally used in farming, are now creatively repurposed as charming planters with a rustic appeal.

7. Old Mining carts

An old mining cart can be uniquely transformed into a striking planter, adding a touch of industrial history to your garden landscape.

8. Chicken feeders

Old galvanized chicken feeders make the cutest little planters and add a special touch of charm to the garden.

Here are the easy steps to making a planter from a metal bucket or wash tub. It’s time to replace your front porch flower pot with a touch of vintage.

  • Clean: Thoroughly clean the buckets or tubs to remove dirt and rust.
  • Drill Holes: Create drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
  • Gravel Layer: Place a layer of gravel at the bottom for improved drainage.
  • Soil and Plants: Fill with suitable potting soil and plant your choice of flowers, herbs, or vegetables, considering their light and space needs.
  • Watering: Water thoroughly after planting. Metal heats up in the sun, so monitor moisture levels closely.
  • Placement: Choose a final spot carefully, as filled containers will be heavy. Metal planters work well in gardens, patios, or balconies for a unique aesthetic.
  • Maintenance: Check plants regularly for watering needs and pests.

Plant suggestions for rustic containers

It is essential to purchase plants that can be grown in your zone and place them in the correct sunlight in your outdoor area. 

I live in zone 10a. Here is a list of small plants I have planted in my container gardens.

Sun Plants
  • Delphinium
  • Petunias
  • Blacked Eyed Susans
  • Geraniums
  • Salvia 
  • Lobelia
  • Succulents 
Shade plants
  • Coleus
  • Impatiens 
  • Begonia
  • Hydrangea
  • Fern
  • Caladiums
  • Ornamental Cabbages
Tip from wendy’s garden:

Choose plants that grow well in your zone. You can find it here in this plant zone map if you do not know your planting zone.

Vintage Chair Planters

I have used several garden chairs in my yard over the years. I have used wood chairs and metal chairs. Unfortunately, the wooden chairs eventually fell apart due to the elements. I highly recommend using metal chairs if you can find them, or protect your wood chair by placing it on the front porch or in an area covered and protected from the elements.

You can read my full tutorial on how to make a planted chair

9. wood chairs

This beautiful chair is one of my all-time favorite projects. However, water and rain eventually destroyed it.

10. metal chairs

These beauties are my new favorite! I have created a chicken wire base with a moss basket to plant the chairs and have several in my garden. You can learn how to make one for yourself.

Tip from wendy’s garden:

When looking for a chair to plant, look for something that will hold up in the elements and not deteriorate. I loved my wood chair, but unfortunately, it did not survive the elements.

11. Bathtub Planters

I know this may sound a bit funky, but we love having the old rustic bathtub from our home in our garden. I enjoy using creative ways to add charm to the garden, and I could not throw it away. It sits in a perfect spot on the pool deck and is filled with salvia and succulents. 

There are so many different ways you could plant an old bathtub. Here are a few suggestions. 

Fairy Garden: Create a whimsical fairy garden for children to enjoy. Incorporate small plants, miniature furniture, and fairy figures. Use the bathtub’s unique shape to create different levels and areas within the fairy landscape.

Vegetable Planter: Grow vegetables in the bathtub. The depth provides ample room for growth, especially for root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Leafy greens and small tomatoes can thrive, too.

Herb Garden: Transform the bathtub into a dedicated herb garden. Plant various herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, and mint. The depth allows roots to grow freely, and you can easily access your fresh herbs for cooking.

A rusty claw bathtub filled with salvia and green plants sits on the pool's side.

12. Wine Barrel Planters

Wine barrels are a great outdoor planter idea. Recently, we used wine barrels as planters and to hold up market lights in our son’s yard with no trees. They came out beautiful and added bright color to their garden design. Not only are you recycling something that could go into the trash, but you are also creating garden pots that will last for years. 

In addition to the planters, we added a simple fire pit for the kids to enjoy with their planters during warmer weather. 

Rustic planter- wine barrel planted with flowers sitting on a gravel section of a yard.
WM Design House
relaxing by the fire pit in the newly decorated yard with market lights and a fire pit
WM Design House
Tip from wendy’s garden:

If you do not have a watering system in your containers, choose hardy plants like succulents that do not need much water.

Wheel Barrel Planters

Old metal wheel barrels make a great addition to  small spaces. Find that perfect place in the garden bed and plant one with red geraniums, white flowers, Lobelia, and daisies. 

13. Rusty metal wheelbarrow

An old metal wheelbarrow filled with pink geraniums and blue lobelia.
WM Design House

It is essential to drill some holes in the bottom for drainage and add some small rocks before adding soil and plants. You can also use a specific color scheme when planting a wheel barrel. 

Use pink, white, and purple like I did, or an assortment of colors. Whatever colors fit into your garden will look beautiful.  

14. Painted wheelbarrow

Add a pop of color by giving your wheelbarrow a coat of fresh paint.

A wooden vintage wheelbarrow filled with terra cotta pots and springtime flowers.
WM Design House
An old metal wheelbarrow filled with pink geraniums and pansies.
WM Design House

15. Wood wheelbarrow

This wood wheelbarrow is very special to me, and I use it constantly. Sometimes, it sits out in the garden (when the weather is nice). Other times, it sits on my front porch, and I have even used it to hold my Christmas tree.

16. An old wagon

Don’t throw the kids’ wagon away. Drill a few holes in the bottom, add some gravel, soil, and a few plants.

An old wagon planted with strawberries.
WM Design House


I picked up this adorable vintage car at an estate sale, and it adds a cute, whimsical touch to my garden. Plant a pot and place it on the seat.

A vintage toy fire truck with plants in the seat sits on a work table outside.
WM Design House


Dough bowls are perfect for planting. I lined the bowl with a heavy plastic bag and placed pots of geraniums in the bowl. I remove them to water weekly.

Galvanized cow feeder.
WM Design House


This fantastic piece belongs to my dear friend Julie from The Warped Table. She and her husband Stan find the most unique pieces. She uses this beauty as a potting bench in her garden.

A vintage feeder off of the farm is being used as a potting bench and rustic planter idea.
The Warped Table

20. DIY Rustic Planter Using Old Gardening Tools 

I’m passionate about vintage finds and gardening and love combining these interests.

Where others might see rusted garden tools as junk, I see potential treasures. I’m excited to share this gardening craft with you where I transform these old tools into unique succulent planters. This simple DIY project creates stunning decor for your garden or outdoor area. Repurposing old items into something new and beautiful is truly rewarding! Lean a few tools up next to the front door, or by the shed, and you will be the talk of the neighborhood. 

Vintage garden tools planted with succulents and leaning against the shed with lots of purple foxgloves.
WM Design House

21.Enamel Baby Bathtub

This baby bathtub is a versatile addition to my garden, perfect for creating a delightful floral display.

22. Vintage Enamel Buckets

These buckets exude charm with their chippy enamel finish and wooden handles, making them durable and ideal for use as rustic metal planters.

An old baby bathtub filled with petunias.
WM Design House
The Warped Table

23. Vintage Kitchen Tools

A retro sifter and a meat grinder, repurposed as succulent holders, add unique character beyond the typical flower pot.

An old strainer planted with succulents.
WM Design House
The Warped Table

24. Rusty Metal

You can transform anything with a hole into an attractive planter. This weathered, rusty pipe, discovered on a farm, has been repurposed into a charming planter.

Rusty planter ideas.
The Warped Table

25. Old Boots

Planting flowers in an old pair of boots gives your garden decor a playful and whimsical twist!

An old pair of boots that are planted in the garden.
WM Design House

26. Use an Old Pallet

Turn a pallet on its side and plant it with wild flower seeds.

Wood pallet with flowers

27. Silver Pieces

You can snag some excellent silver pieces at the thrift store for just a few dollars. Simply drill some holes in the bottom, toss in some gravel and cactus soil, and plant some succulents.

Silver teapots, creamers, and sugar bowls were planted with succulents.
WM Design House

28.Vintage scale

Purple and white bacopa beautifully complement the weighing pan of this scale, making it a charming display.

29. wooden laundry box

This box outside my she shed gets a seasonal refresh with plants throughout the year—pumpkins in the fall and a Christmas tree during the holidays.

Vintage scale hanging in a shed with plants planted in the scale.
WM Design House
Rustic outdoor planter Ideas. An old laundry box filled with plants for the summer sitting in front of a shed.
WM Design House

Incorporating Rustic Planters into Your Container Garden Design

The best part of container gardening is placing your rustic planters in the garden and arranging them into simple designs. It’s the perfect opportunity to freshen things up and give the garden a new twist.

There are several things to think about when styling your planters.

Layer Heights: Varying the height of your planters is a great idea to create visual interest. Use stands or stacked natural materials like stones or wood to elevate planters. This approach draws the eye upward and adds depth to your garden or patio.

Cluster for Effect: Group planters in clusters of three or more in your flower beds to create a focal point. Mixing sizes within these clusters can add to the rustic charm while keeping the arrangement cohesive.

A garden work table with a planted chair and several galvanized buckets filled with petunias.
WM Design House

Seasonal Updates: Switch out or add seasonal plants to keep your rustic planter arrangements fresh and engaging throughout the year. Seasonal blooms, foliage, and even holiday-themed decorations can keep your space vibrant.

Maintenance Tips for Rustic Outdoor Planters

Container plants need to be tended to daily and watered regularly. You can add a drip system or hand water them. Just be careful not to give them excess water. 

Here is a list of seasonal chores that are needed for potted plants. 


  • Inspection and Cleaning: Begin the season by inspecting your planters for damage or wear. Clean them thoroughly to remove dirt, debris, or lingering frost damage.
  • Repotting: Refresh the soil and repot plants as needed. This is the perfect time to divide perennials or introduce new plants to your containers.
  • Fertilization: Apply a slow-release fertilizer to give your plants a healthy start to the growing season.


  • Regular Watering: As temperatures rise, increase watering frequency to keep the soil moist, especially for planters in full sun.
  • Mulching: Add a layer of mulch to the soil surface to help retain moisture and keep roots cool.
  • Sun Protection: Move sensitive planters to shaded areas during peak sun hours to prevent overheating and sunburn on plants.


  • Transition Plants: Replace summer annuals with fall-friendly plants in cooler climates in your outdoor space. Consider adding ornamental grasses or autumn-blooming perennials.
  • Prepare for Frost: Begin moving tender plants and frost-sensitive planters indoors or to a sheltered area.
  • Drainage Check: Ensure that drainage holes are clear to prevent water logging from increased rainfall.


  • Protection from Freeze: For outdoors planters, wrap them in burlap or bubble wrap to insulate against freezing temperatures, especially for ceramic or terracotta pots.
  • Elevate Planters: Raise planters off the ground on pot feet or stands to prevent water accumulation and freezing damage.
  • Indoor Care: For planters brought indoors, ensure they receive enough light and humidity and reduce watering to match the slower growth rate during winter.

Other [Garden] Posts from WM Design House

If you love this post about rustic outdoor planter ideas you might also enjoy some of my other favorite gardening posts or flower variety posts,:

37 0f the best perennials to plant for a cut flower garden

37 of the Best Perennial Cut Flowers for your Cutting Garden

Learn how to choose the best perennials fo ra cut flower garden.

Pinnata dahlias growing in the garden

How to Make Easy DIY Flower Fertilizer: Homemade Plant Food

Let me show you how easy it is to make your own fertilizer.

Red and white dahlias are cut from the garden.

Are Dahlias Perennials? How to Plant and Care for your Dahlias

Everything I know about growing dahlias.

Wrapping Up

With these rustic outdoor planter ideas, you can quickly bring unique charm and character to your garden. Start transforming everyday objects into eye-catching planters and enjoy a space that is as unique as it is beautiful!

Four images of rustic planter ideas.

More about me!


Hello, I’m Wendy – a dedicated homemaker with a deep passion for decorating, gardening, cooking, and crafting. I find joy in harmonizing beautiful elements to fashion a space that is both comfortable and inspiring. I will help you create a beautiful home, one project at a time.

Connect with Wendy

Similar Posts


  1. You always inspire me Wendy, and every year I say this is my year… and then the summer passes, and I think maybe next year. I am hoping to create a backyard oasis, or the beginnings of one this year. I am so fond of vintage pieces in the yard and flower beds, and now that we have a gated driveway I feel like we can do more with our backyard. Hope you have a lovely week.

    1. Oh Cara, I sure wish I lived next door and I would be over to help you.
      Start with a vision and you will accomplish your oasis one step at a time.
      I grow most of my flowers from seed and it is very rewarding and not so expensive.
      Maybe buy a few raised bins, I find that the soil is so much better and easy to manage.

  2. So many amazing ideas!! I love every one of them. This spring, I have big plans for my gardens, let’s see if I get them all done 🤣 Pinned!

    1. Thank you, Cindy; I cannot wait to see what you do in your garden. I know a shed is in your plans and I cannot wait to see it.
      Having a garden is very rewarding and enjoyable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *